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Mike Essoudry, Linsey Wellman Mike Essoudry, Linsey Wellman

Ecco un disco che riesce ad abbinare in modo molto convincente la dimensione più marcatamente improvvisativa con una insistita ricerca timbrica in costante bilico tra jazz, musica contemporanea ed etnica. Wonderous Stories, Italy

Sie blasen und streuen Blütenstaub und Gewürze des Orients ins Gehirn und erzeugen Halluzinationen von Kamelkarawanen, beladen mit Orangen und Datteln. Bad Alchemy, Germany

In their first album together, Linsey Wellman and Mike Essoudry combine to explore the possibilities of tone, rhythm and melody. Over thirteen tracks and nearly an hour, they embrace stasis and movement, meditation and exuberance, delicacy and amplitude. Their improvisations and compositional sketches look both forward and back, to the ever new possibilities of instant creation, and to sounds, themes and evocations as old as humanity itself.

Mike Essoudry, Linsey Wellman

Mike Essoudry, Linsey Wellman

In the press

  • Vincenzo Giorgio, Wonderous Stories, no. 14:37, December 1, 2008
    Ecco un disco che riesce ad abbinare in modo molto convincente la dimensione più marcatamente improvvisativa con una insistita ricerca timbrica in costante bilico tra jazz, musica contemporanea ed etnica.
  • Rigobert Dittmann, Bad Alchemy, no. 58, May 1, 2008
    Sie blasen und streuen Blütenstaub und Gewürze des Orients ins Gehirn und erzeugen Halluzinationen von Kamelkarawanen, beladen mit Orangen und Datteln.
  • Doug Fischer, Ottawa Citizen, March 29, 2008
    The circus-like Ridicolosamente, for instance, gets a dazzling treatment featuring vibrant solos…
  • Dolf Mulder, Vital, no. 619, March 18, 2008
    The playing of Vann is delicate and poetic. A lyrical player. Mergaerts produces a warm sound from his bass.

Recensione

Vincenzo Giorgio, Wonderous Stories, no. 14:37, December 1, 2008

Ecco un disco che riesce ad abbinare in modo molto convincente la dimensione più marcatamente improvvisativa con una insistita ricerca timbrica in costante bilico tra jazz, musica contemporanea ed etnica. Lo sguardo è costantemente rivolto al Medio Oriente (Linsey ha lavorato parecchio sia in Marocco che in Tunisia) così come alcuni titoli lasciano chiaramente intuire (Shambat + Enkidu ed Uruk evidenti omaggi alla cultura sumerica) senza però precludersi voli più aperti ed estremi (Jeweled Garden e Uta Napishti ammiccano chiaramente all’India..). Linsey (sax alto e soprano) e Mike (batteria e percussioni), sebbene alla loro prima collaborazione, dimostrano di essere due musicisti molto in sintonia tra di loro soprattutto per quanto riguarda la condivisione dell’idea di una musica non pervasiva e dedita a coltivare la preziosità del silenzio. In particolare Wellman si rivela un fiatista molto pulito e musicale soprattutto quando imbocca il sax soprano mentre Essoudry mostra doti percussive molto raffinate e musicali decisamente propense non tanto all’aspetto ritmico quanto alla costruzione del suono. Da qui le tredici composizioni interamente scritte ed arrangiate a quattro mani tra cui spiccano la silente fragranza dell’inaugurale The Shades con quei suoi affascinanti echi dal “vicino Oriente” così come l’energia jazzistica di Deluge e della conclusiva Country Fair.

Ecco un disco che riesce ad abbinare in modo molto convincente la dimensione più marcatamente improvvisativa con una insistita ricerca timbrica in costante bilico tra jazz, musica contemporanea ed etnica.

Kritik

Rigobert Dittmann, Bad Alchemy, no. 58, May 1, 2008

Drummer Mike Essoudry leitet in Ottawa ein eigenes Octet (mit Pierre-Yves Martel am Bass) und daneben das 7-köpfige Ensemble Ratstar und ist zudem im Ottawa Composer’s Collective ebenso zu finden wie im the Megan Jerome Trio. Während er da zur Mehrung des Erdenglücks durch eine folkloresk-jazzige Singersongwriterin beiträgt, verwebt er mit dem Alto- & Sopranosaxophonisten Linsey Wellman, mit dem er auch in den Projekten Parade und W. Fly Poem zusammen spielt, lose Fäden am Saum von freier Improvisation und Weltmusik. Dort hat nämlich Wellman seinen Schwerpunkt, der mit Galitcha Punjabi-Fusion, mit Kobo Town Calypso-Ähnliches und mit dem Rakestar Arkestra Sun-Ra-Tributes anstimmt. Auch ohne eine Herzensbrecherin wie Jerome machen Essoudrys zarte Rassel- und Glöckchenpercussion und Wellmans würziger Reedton sich verführerisch an den Geschmacksknospen und Ohrmuscheln zu schaffen. Sie blasen und streuen Blütenstaub und Gewürze des Orients ins Gehirn und erzeugen Halluzinationen von Kamelkarawanen, beladen mit Orangen und Datteln. Der Ort, an den die Phantasie mitgenommen wird, liegt im Zweistromland, wenn auch nicht dem realen von heute. At Mashu und Uruk ebenso wie Shamhat + Enkidu und Uta Napishti setzen sich auf die Spuren von Gilgamesh. Das Sopranosax versenkt sich in arabeske Tagträume, mit Parkeresken Trillern bei Red Triangle. Der Ton wird manchmal so rau und nachdrücklich, wie es die Sehnsucht verlangt, und nicht selten so schön, dass man sich in den Sand werfen möchte. An den Gilgamesh-Zyklus schließt sich The Gadfly Suite an, die mit Shostakovichs op. 97 nur den Namen gemeinsam hat, und mit County Fair ein freejazziger Ausflug auf ein Volksfest ohne Rummel und besoffenes Volk.

Sie blasen und streuen Blütenstaub und Gewürze des Orients ins Gehirn und erzeugen Halluzinationen von Kamelkarawanen, beladen mit Orangen und Datteln.

Leaving the living room behind

Doug Fischer, Ottawa Citizen, March 29, 2008

In the late ’90s, I visited a cramped living room in Vanier to watch three raw young musicians who called themselves Blue Room roar through an afternoon of loud post-bebop jazz. The trio didn’t amount to much more than a garage band, jazz-style, but it was evident bassist Pierre-Yves Martel, drummer Mike Essoudry and saxophonist Petr Cancura were going places.

A decade later, they have arrived — separately — with a trio of debut albums: Martel as the force behind Quartetski’s free-jazz take on Sergei Prokofiev, Essoudry in an improvisational duo with saxophonist Linsey Wellman, and Cancura as frontman on a world-music-tinged CD coming later in the year.

Of the two albums already available, Quartetski’s is more ambitious and more satisfying. But the group is working with a bigger palette — four musicians versus two — and a larger canvas: 18 piano sketches by Prokofiev versus a dozen off-the-cuff tunes.

Martel took Prokofiev’s pieces Visions Fugitives, Op. 22, written amid the chaos of the Russian Revolution — and arranged them so his Montréal-based quartet could use them as springboards (“vehicles, bridges and platforms” in his words) to improvisation.

Given the upheaval during which the music was written, it’s hardly surprising many of the compositions are brooding and contemplative. Although the group sometimes struggles under the weight, it also frequently rises to the occasion with surprising harmonic textures and deft interplay.

But Martel’s idea works best when the musicians are dealing with Prokofiev’s more playful compositions. The circus-like Ridicolosamente, for instance, gets a dazzling treatment featuring vibrant solos from trumpeter Gordon Allen and saxophonist Philippe Lauzier that roll over the top of Martel’s beefy bass and Isaiah Ceccarelli’s rollicking drums. The inaptly titled Allegretto tranquillo, raucous rather than calm, also gets high marks.

On the other hand, the disc from Essoudry and Wellman, both living in Ottawa, succeeds most often when the music is more tranquil. The sax-drums combination is one of the most difficult in jazz to pull off, even in the hands of technical masters like John Coltrane and Rashied Ali. Essoudry and Wellman, of course, are not in that league, and their efforts at hard-charging improvisation are not nearly as effective as their meditative pieces, especially the delicate Jeweled Garden.

The circus-like Ridicolosamente, for instance, gets a dazzling treatment featuring vibrant solos…

Review

Dolf Mulder, Vital, no. 619, March 18, 2008

Two new releases from the small Malasartes label that is run by Damian Nisenson.

Linsey Wellman (alto and soprano sax) and Mike Essoudry (drums, percussion) are together here for their first effort. In thirteen pieces that are composed and arranged by themselves, they play charming duets. In most pieces Wellman leads with his beautiful saxplaying. He has a nice tone, and there is some eastern touch in his playing. But Essoudry places many effective accents with his reduced playing. Together they built nice atmospheres. Most pieces are of a meditative nature. Inspired music it is.

Yul is a trio of Pierre Tanguay (drums), Erwin Vann (saxes) and Michel Mergaerts (bass). Tanguay needs no introduction. He left his mark on dozens of albums, many of them on the Ambiances Magnétiques label. Vann and Mergaerts are both from Belgium. Vann is a professional since 1985. Worked with Toots Thielemans, Wayne Shorter, Paolo Fresu, Marc Ducret, Bobby Previte, a.o. Michel Mergaerts from Brussels, started his career as a blues guitarist. Later he played with belgian jazz giants as Steve Houben, Pirly Zurstrassen and Jean-Louis Rassinfosse. Since about seven years he lives in Canada, playing with vocalist Julie Lebon and Trioxyde, a prog-rock/jazz outfit. The three met in 2005 and started their Yul-project. The title of their CD refers to a common experience for all three of them: passing airports. Compared to the cd by Wellman and Essoudry this one is much more close to jazz. The playing of Vann is delicate and poetic. A lyrical player. Mergaerts produces a warm sound from his bass. Tanguay is the most eccentric of the three with his polyrhytmic playing. But if you don’t share their love for jazz, this one will not talk to you.

The playing of Vann is delicate and poetic. A lyrical player. Mergaerts produces a warm sound from his bass.

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